In anticipation of fall quarter, UCR has established a brand new diagnostic laboratory dedicated to the ongoing COVID-19 testing program on campus, located in the Multidisciplinary Research Building. Student Health Services and UCR Health have since been utilizing the facility in order to keep up with COVID-19 diagnoses and maintain campus health.

Courtesy of UCR/Stan Lim

The lab opened up towards the beginning of September after having tested its first sample in August and is now fully functional thanks to the collaborative work of several individuals and departments across the board. 

Rodolfo Torres, the vice chancellor for research and economic development, whose office was directly involved with the formation of the lab, spoke to The Highlander about the testing facility.

He elaborated on the reason why UCR was quick to develop their own screening station. “It has been established that frequent testing is an important component in mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and to detect potential risks of outbreaks before they occur,” he stated. 

Torres affirmed that during periods of higher volume, third-party test providers are not always able to release results at a satisfactory rate. UCR has been continuously working towards more efficient testing methods to achieve proper results; they recently made a switch from nasal swabs to saliva testing, as the latter proved to be much quicker. 

Additionally, having a laboratory on campus is better for accessibility, given that the students currently living in the residence halls are required to get tested regularly. Students and employees coming to campus are also expected to partake in a wellness check form every single day. Negative test results are given through email, but should any test results prove positive, they will be delivered through phone and the appropriate actions will be taken. Information concerning identified positive cases can be found on UCR’s website.

The testing sites on campus operate Monday through Friday, generally from 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m., however students on campus will be given their own instructions regarding when they need to report for screening. Though they are currently only open to students and staff, Torres asserts that as their capacity for testing expands, they may eventually allow other individuals to be tested on campus.

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